JACKSON — Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood says he is going to try and force BP’s hand when it comes to claims processing related to the Gulf oil spill.
In a statement issued yesterday, the same day Republican Gov. Haley Barbour that sent a request to Hood to hold off on suing BP “until the claims process and the Natural Resource Damage Assessment have a chance to work,” Hood wrote: “The lessons of Hurricane Katrina, where the State of Mississippi was forced to establish a claims process, have shown us the importance of a transparent claims procedure to ensure that our coastal residents can survive during the current oil spill without the worry of having to sign releases. The coastal attorneys general have worked to force BP to implement such a process.
“I recently asked the House Judiciary Committee in Congress to change some laws to protect the interests of our Coastal states. I met with the coastal attorneys general in Montgomery last week to develop a claims protocol, which will protect our citizens who have been hit hard by this catastrophe.
“Today), following a panel discussion in Biloxi, we three attorneys general will be meeting with BP claims administrator Ken Feinberg to give him our written claims protocol…
“Next week, I intend to meet with other experts and agencies to ensure that the Office of Attorney General is prepared for litigation, if necessary. I will continue to work with the Department of Justice, Mr. Feinberg and BP to make sure that the State of Mississippi and its citizens collect every dime that they are owed by whatever means is necessary and proper according to the law.”